Gracie Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Personal triumph stories are my favorite kind. But nothing is more distasteful than feeling like I’ve been hogtied and force-fed an inspirational tale.
Gracie is loosely based on the family life of Elisabeth Shue. (She plays the mother in this film and her younger sibling, Andrew Shue, plays Coach Owen Clark.) Like the title character, Elisabeth lost an older brother. She was also raised as the only daughter in a soccer-crazy family. In her youth, the actress competed on all-boys teams from age 9 to 13, since no organized girls’ leagues existed in her hometown. But playing with the boys in the Under 13 league is a whole different game than tackling a varsity high school team like the situation depicted in this movie.
After the accidental death of Johnny, her older soccer star sibling (Jesse Lee Soffer), Gracie (played by Carly Schroeder), who’s rarely had a chance to compete even casually with her brothers, wants to take up the sport and fill in his position on the high school team. Devastated by the loss of his son, her father, Bryan Bowen (Dermot Mulroney) scoffs at the idea of a girl seriously participating in the sport at all. Shocked by the severity of her father’s response and still grieving herself, Gracie spirals out of control, stealing the family car, engaging in underage drinking, sneaking into a club, shoplifting, failing school and offering sexual favors to an older man, without any apparent remorse or consequences.
Finally waking up to his daughter’s problems, Bryan quits his job, leaving his wife Lindsay (Elisabeth Shue) to support the family so he can spend two months helping Gracie learn the game of soccer. Although cocky and insolent, the young athlete begins to develop her ball handling abilities, spending long, lonely hours on the practice field taking shots at an empty net. Yet while her proficiency improves, she still struggles to dribble past her male teammates during practice. Even so, she is there on the bench for the team’s first game of the season.
And that is the film’s biggest flaw. I want to be inspired. I want to see her achieve. I want to watch girls (and boys for that matter) succeed on the athletic field, in the band, in academics or whatever their endeavors. But I want to really believe they can do it. Gracie is so contrived at times it is hard to choke down. Watching her train for a couple of months and then be ready to perform at a senior level is far-fetched, if not demeaning to the athletes who’ve supposedly spent years honing their skills.
Staying true to the sport’s film formula, Gracie portrays some hard work and athletic grit, but even with a desire to honor her brother’s name this player’s off-field actions deserve more than a yellow card warning for family viewing.Starring Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney, Carly Schroeder. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release May 31, 2007. Updated May 1, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Gracie rated PG-13? Gracie is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief sexual content.
The sudden death of their oldest son leaves a family drowning in grief. Gracie’s responds by mouthing off, defacing public property, stealing a car, sneaking into bars and drinking, failing at school, shoplifting and offering sex to an older man. As the only girl in her family, Gracie endures unkind comments from her brothers and a distant relationship with her father. Sports injuries and family tensions are portrayed. The script includes profanities, scatological slang and sexual innuendo.
Page last updated May 1, 2009
More parents' guide for Gracie after the break...
Gracie Parents' Guide
Following Johnny’s death, each of the family members grieves in a different way. How does Bryan deal with the loss of his son and his own hopes for his son’s success? What effect does it have on his parental involvement with the other children? How does Lindsay respond to the tragedy? What are the consequences for Gracie?
How does Bryan perceive his daughter? In what way does Johnny’s death eventually change Bryan’s view of Gracie? Do you think that would have happened without the accident?
What part does natural talent versus desire play in athletic, academic or musical ventures?
The most recent home video release of Gracie movie is September 17, 2007. Here are some details…
DVD Release Date: 18 September 2007
Bring home Gracie on DVD and you’ll also net two audio commentaries; one with Director David Guggenheim, the other with Elisabeth Shue, Andrew Shue and John Shue (the film is loosely based on actress Elisabeth Shue’s childhood experiences playing soccer). As well, the disc offers a featurette about Bringing Gracie to Film and the theatrical trailer.